In the wake of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Republican Senate majority’s proposal to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, an interesting argument has emerged. The millions of dollars in reduced spending on Medicaid that the Republican bill proposes aren’t actually cuts to Medicaid, because Medicaid spending still goes up.
Senate Republicans unveiled their newest health care bill Thursday as they continue to search for the majority needed to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The new bill includes major changes to the original. One of the most significant was the inclusion of an amendment by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, which would allow insurers offering Obamacare plans to also offer cheaper, bare-bones policies. The amendment was included in an effort to earn more conservative support, but could also drive away some moderates who fear the amendment could drive up premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.
As we prepare for the coming week of Democratic senators leveling charges of mass homicide against their colleagues, it seems worth asking a few questions, like “Is it true that this bill will kill people?” And “If it’s so deadly, how can Republicans possibly get it passed?” Voters don’t like taxes much, to be sure. But most of them are, I think, even less fond of death.
First, then, the score itself. How reliable is it? Unfortunately, this score has the same problems that plagued the Congressional Budget Office’s score of the House bill: Its estimates of the number of uninsured, while undoubtedly made in good faith, seem rather implausibly large. However little liberals may like this bill when they compare it to Obamacare, when compared to the pre-Obamacare status quo ante, it offers many billions of dollars’ worth of subsidies for health insurance — premium tax credits for people buying insurance in the individual market, and substantial funds to insurers and states in order to stabilize the market.
It seems hard to believe, as the CBO predicts, that the net result will be almost no reduction in the number of uninsured people, relative to what you’d get if Obamacare was simply repealed and replaced with nothing.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Wednesday that the Senate will pass a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare before Congress leaves on its annual August recess.
In an interview on KFYO’s “The Chad Hasty Show,” the Texas Republican was asked if the Senate could get a repeal and replace plan by the end of the year done.
“Oh, absolutely,” Cornyn said. “We’ll get it done by the end of July at the latest.”
Cornyn said he suspects the upper chamber will resolve the health care issue “in the next few weeks” and that lawmakers have “no choice” but to tackle it since, he said, “Obamacare is in meltdown.”
It’s no secret that my organization, FreedomWorks, had serious concerns with the American Health Care Act. The amendment negotiated by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) to allow states to define their own community rating and essential health benefits was a step in the right direction, but further improvements must be made as the bill works its way through the Senate. As Meadows said during the House debate over the AHCA, “The American people are going to care about one thing, and that’s premiums going down.”
It’s a tall order — especially given today’s political climate and the endless onslaught of liberal outrage.
For Linda Dearman, the House vote last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act was a welcome relief.
Ms. Dearman, of Bartlett, Ill., voted for President Trump largely because of his contempt for the federal health law. She and her husband, a partner in an engineering firm, buy their own insurance, but late last year they dropped their $1,100-a-month policy and switched to a bare-bones plan that does not meet the law’s requirements. They are counting that the law will be repealed before they owe a penalty.
“Now it looks like it will be, and we’re thrilled about that,” Ms. Dearman, 54, said. “We are so glad to feel represented for a change.”
Republicans celebrated on Thursday after successfully moving a health-care bill forward that they said would fulfill their promise to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Yet one of the bill’s most far-reaching sections is only tangentially related to repealing the law, also known as Obamacare.
The law would limit federal spending on Medicaid — the program that provides health insurance to the poor — to an index of inflation in medical prices. Since the program’s costs are increasing more rapidly than that index, over time, the government would spend hundreds of billions less on Medicaid than it would under the current system. It would be up to states to decide how to make up the difference.
The GOP’s Obamacare replacement might need some emergency treatment.
A leading House Republican on Tuesday said he has told the GOP leadership he will vote against their bill to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act.
The loss of a vote from Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, could make it much more difficult for Republicans to even dare to call a vote on their replacement bill, much less to get it passed this week.
House Republicans are mounting yet another effort to tear down Obamacare and remake the health care system — but the path to delivering on one of the GOP’s longest-standing priorities remains complicated and fraught with uncertainty.
House GOP leadership is working furiously to rally support for its Obamacare repeal bill amid threats of a government shutdown, rebellion within its ranks and dire warnings about the consequences for the nation’s most vulnerable Americans. The Trump administration and Republican leaders contend they’re drawing closer to a deal. Still, the situation is more fluid than ever.
Back when the GOP was selecting its nominee for president last year, I warned my Republican friends that on ObamaCare, Donald Trump might be worse than Hillary Clinton:
Good ol’ partisanship would stop Hillary Clinton from expanding ObamaCare even a little. A faux opponent like Trump could co-opt congressional Republicans to expand it a lot.
I even quipped that a President Trump might sell out ObamaCare opponents for 10 feet of border wall.
It looks like my prediction was eerily accurate. Even as the House Republican leadership and President Trump claim they are moving legislation that would repeal and replace ObamaCare (it wouldn’t), Trump is offering to expand ObamaCare in return for Democratic cooperation in funding a new border wall.